Thursday, March 27, 2008

Riverboarding, 'new' water sport for adventure-seeking adrenalin junkies

It was cloudy in Bantar Caringin village, Saguling, Rajamandala, West Bandung regency, last Sunday and Citarum River was flowing with greater force due to an early morning downpour.

A group of people gathered on the bank of the tributary -- which is regularly used for rafting practice -- where they discussed the best spot from which to take off.

This time, however, they were not going to practice rafting; they would be using boards instead of rubber boats, in a sport known as riverboarding.

Some participants looked anxious at the thought of crossing the powerful Citarum, armed only with boards. Ajo, 27, for instance, said he was not prepared to face the river that day. He was still traumatized from being flung from his board a few weeks earlier during a tryout session in a smaller stream, Palayangan River, in Pangalengan, Bandung regency.

Extreme sports like riverboarding are for hobbyists who crave excitement. Mamay, head of the natural rock division of the Indonesian Rock Climbing Federation, said he had become considerably engrossed in this new activity.

"I've tried rock climbing and rafting with rubber boats, but riverboarding is truly personal. At first I was scared of facing the strong current laying down (on a board)," Mamay said.

The boards used by riverboarders in Bandung are produced by a workshop belonging to Rahim A.B.S. As well as being a reliable riverboard maker, Rahim is also a highly skilled riverboarder.

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